Although a lot of plants enjoy a bit of a breeze, strong winds can damage plants and affect their growth. You can use structures and the landscape to provide plants with a bit of shelter, but this obviously isn’t always possible.
So, how do you provide wind protection for plants? Below are 10 options that are suitable for all kinds of outdoor spaces to help keep your plants happy and sheltered.
A shade cloth (such as this) can help protect your plants from the wind. They’re usually not made of impermeable fabric, which is a good thing. Instead of completely blocking airflow, they allow a bit through, but this helps to dampen the wind’s blunt force.
Bear in mind, though, that shade cloths often aren’t super nice to look at. However, they double up as privacy screens, making them ideal for balconies and porches.
Grouping plants together can provide natural wind protection for smaller or more delicate plants. This method works best if the wind always comes from the same direction, such as on a balcony.
Put the hardiest and/or tallest plants closest to the wind and use them as a shield. For example, you might set up some shrubs or small trees with flowering plants in front of them.
This option will work best on a balcony, porch or deck because you’ll need some railings for attaching the Perspex. Basically, you’ll fix the sheets to a railing using cable ties to completely block your plants from the wind.
Unlike shade cloths, Perspex won’t have any impact on light levels or privacy. If you plan to go down this route, use Perspex or polycarbonate sheeting rather than acrylic, as they’re sturdier and more weather-resistant.
Planting a hedge is a long-term solution that’s best suited to gardens or larger outdoor spaces. Hedges are one of the most effective natural windbreaks, which is one of their main purposes (along with privacy).
You can use any plant you want, but it should be fairly dense. Bear in mind, it could take a decade or so for the hedge to become properly established. But if you can stick it out, you’ll end up with a permanent and very effective wind barrier.
Hurdles are movable sections of fencing often made from hazel or willow. Thin branches are woven together into panels, which have stakes for securing them into the ground. You could also zip tie them to fences or railings.
The main advantage of hurdles is that you can move them, which is helpful if the wind constantly changes direction. Also, they look quite nice and can add a traditional farm vibe to your garden or balcony.
This might seem like an obvious option, but staking your plants can be effective against moderate wind speeds. It’s particularly helpful for top-heavy or spindly plants that can easily blow over – especially if they’re potted.
If you’re worried about the whole pot blowing over, you could tie the plant (or the plant and a support stake) to a railing, fence post, drainpipe, or similar. However, this does risk damaging the plant if the pot gets blown over.
Artificial hedges (such as the ones linked in this article) are a good compromise over real hedges. The main advantage is that they don’t take several years to reach the correct size. Like real hedges, the density of their foliage will help reduce the wind’s strength.
To make an effective wind barrier, you’ll probably want boxwood hedges with a planter box (such as these). You’ll want to make a few modifications, though. First, take the wheels off. Second, if possible, fill the planter with sand to stop it from tipping over.
A greenhouse can be a great way to shelter plants from wind, particularly seedlings or smaller and more delicate plants. The type of greenhouse you use, and where you put it, are both important factors though.
To prevent it from blowing over, you’ll probably want to tie it to something. Alternatively, installing and opening windows can allow enough air through that it prevents damage to the greenhouse.
If you’re aware your outdoor space is windy and you haven’t bought any plants yet, choosing the right ones can make a big difference. While this is entirely dependent on your space and needs, some good options include:
- Ornamental grasses
- Creeping bed plants (chamomile, clover, etc.)
- Climbing or vining plants
All these types of plants can withstand high winds for one reason or another. But you could also use certain plants as natural windbreaks. For example, growing jasmine or honeysuckle up a railing will create a great barrier once established.
It might take a bit of planning to get the garden you want, but it should be possible. There are loads of plants that can withstand high winds and, when combined with clever planting, will do absolutely fine.
Large plant pots are usually fairly heavy anyway. But if you have a tall plant or a windy space, adding some extra weight can be helpful. To do this, you could add some large stones to the bottom of the pot.
Alternatively, you could secure the pot inside an old tire or something similar. Finally, you could physically tie the pot to a railing so it can’t blow over at all. However, none of these options protect the plant itself, but rather prevent it from taking damage by blowing over.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for protecting plants from the wind. Try combining a few of these tips for the best results in your outdoor space. With a bit of thought, you can have a garden that’s both pretty and safe from the wind!